AAA Four-Diamond Historical Hotel in the Heart of Louisville
The Brown Hotel’s first incarnation was in 1923, when a local capitalist built the Georgian Revival–style hotel and attracted the upper echelon of society; a former prime minister of the United Kingdom was the first person to sign the guest register. Over the next several decades, The Brown Hotel hosted a slew of famous guests, including Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, the Duke of Windsor, and Muhammad Ali. In 1971, as downtown Louisville’s economic slump worsened, the hotel was forced to close it doors. More than a decade passed before the 16-story property was fully renovated and reopened. In 2012, it was named 1 of the best 500 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, signifying its triumphant return to the grandeur of the 1920s.
The opulent two-story lobby makes a memorable first impression with its hand-painted ceiling, intricately carved railings, mahogany furniture, and botticino marble flooring. The elegance continues upstairs—the 293 guest rooms are outfitted with 5-inch feather pillow-top mattresses, marbled bathroom floors, and equestrian art. The private Club Lounge is open to all guests staying in the Club Classic room; here, you can partake in complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine each evening, as well as a free breakfast each morning.
At the AAA Four-Diamond English Grill restaurant, use your dining credit and choose from a selection of more than 200 wines to complement dishes ranging from sautéed halibut ($45) to braised beef short ribs ($24). You can also visit the bistro-style J. Graham’s Café to sample a famous Hot Brown sandwich, first served at The Brown Hotel in 1926 and recently featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food. The open-faced hot turkey sandwich comes in a skillet atop texas toast, stuffed with cheese, tomato, bacon, and a creamy mornay sauce.
Louisville, Kentucky: Historical Southern City on the Banks of the Ohio River
Every year, during the first weekend in May, throngs of well-dressed folks descend on Louisville, headed to Churchill Downs to witness the country's most iconic horserace, the Kentucky Derby. Though the derby lasts only a few days, the track hosts other horseraces throughout much of the year and operates a museum seven days a week.
Another Louisville mainstay is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where you can take a 25-minute guided tour through the bat-making factory. The attached museum boasts a six-story bat out front—the largest bat in the world. You can learn more about the manufacturing process with interactive exhibits and take an opportunity to stare down a 90-mile-per-hour fastball. Posttour, each visitor receives a miniature souvenir bat with which to swat away household ghosts.
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